Despite League’s Best Efforts, Another Gay Slur Slips Out

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah likely didn’t learn his lesson from watching Kobe Bryant pay $100,000 in fines earlier this season.

Jokim NoahAfter getting called for his second foul midway through the first quarter in last night’s loss to the Miami Heat, Noah turned and hurled a gay slur at a heckler.

“I apologize,” Noah said to reporters. “The fan said something to me that I thought was disrespectful, and I got caught up in the moment, and I said some things that I shouldn’t have said. I was frustrated and I don’t mean no disrespect to anybody. I just got caught up.”

After Bryant’s slur and after their efforts with the ThinkB4USpeak campaign, the last thing Stern and the NBA needed was another player hurling ignorant, homophobic slurs.

Many have debated that Noah should not be fined as much as Bryant was since it was shouted at a fan and not a referee. I completely disagree. The NBA is a business because of the fanbase, and players are paid multi-million dollar contracts because there are butts in seats at arenas around the league.

At the same time, I’m not painting the heckler innocent either, but if I’m Tom Thibodeau, I would hope my players would have more to focus on than yelling at a heckler, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals.

I would expect Noah’s fine to be the same as Bryant’s. But it’ll take more than fines to clean the homophobic image the NBA is starting to get.


About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.